Football Falls in 3rd Straight Championship

After a long and successful season, Andover fell to a terrific Trinity-Pawling squad in the NEPSAC Class A Eton Estey Bowl last Saturday. The 41-7 loss was Andover’s second defeat of the season, finishing the fall with an impressive 7-2 record and reaching the championship game. It was the third straight NEPSAC championship game for Andover, where it met Trinity-Pawling just two years ago in the 2005 championship, falling 42-26. Last year, Andover lost to a talented Salisbury team. The two teams met at a neutral site, at Sawyer Field in Easthampton, Massachusetts. The Trinity-Pawling Pride, from Pawling, New York, boasted a 7-1 record coming into the game, and proved to be too much to handle for the Andover attack. Andover’s score came midway through the first quarter of the game. After two touchdown runs by Pride running back Quendel Ellison ‘08, quarterback Bryan Farris ’08 ran into the end zone from three yards out to bring the score to 14-7. From there, however, Trinity-Pawling took over the game. It scored two more touchdowns later in the half for a 27-7 halftime lead, and held the Andover offense in check for the second half to secure the Pride’s second NEPSAC championship in the last three years. Farris led the Andover offense, completing 17 passes on 34 attempts and throwing for a total of 208 yards. However, despite his strong effort Andover struggled to create scoring opportunities due to constant blitzes on the Andover offensive line by the significantly larger Trinity-Pawling defense. Farris was sacked eight times throughout the game. On offense, Andover also had trouble building momentum, surrendering four interceptions. “We had a lot of trouble stopping the run,” said defensive end Luke Miller ’08. “They had a very talented running back and great size up front, and being a smaller team we had trouble with that all year.” Andover was hurt on both sides of the ball, as the Pride’s Ellison ran for over 230 yards and scored five touchdowns in the game.. Nonetheless, the single touchdown does not give justice to Andover’s offensive effort. Farris battled through a sore ankle for a large part of the game, and most of the Andover turnovers came at the worst possible time, in striking distance of the end zone. The team gained 131 yards in the first half, a valiant effort against a ruthless Trinity-Pawling defense. Just getting a chance to compete in the championship game was a great feat for this Andover team, which lost 22 Seniors from last year’s squad. Expectations coming into the season weren’t as high as in previous years for the team, but Andover succeeded with the leadership of the few experienced players. To cap off the regular season, and to qualify for the championship game against Trinity-Pawling, Andover highlighted its season in an exciting, 24-14 crushing of arch-rival Exeter.